Welcome to the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research!

Willkommen am Leibniz-Institut für Zoo- und Wildtierforschung (IZW)! Deutsche Version der IZW-Webseite.

The Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (IZW) is an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to developing the scientific basis for novel approaches to wildlife conservation.

In the current era of the Anthropocene, virtually all ecosystems in the world are subjected to man-made impacts. As yet, it is not possible to predict the response of wildlife to the ever-increasing global change. Why are some wildlife species threatened by anthropogenic change, while others persist or even thrive in modified, degenerated or novel habitats?

To answer this and related questions, the IZW conducts basic and applied research across different scientific disciplines. We study the diversity of life histories and evolutionary adaptations and their limits, including diseases, of free-ranging and captive wildlife species, and their interactions with people and their environment in Germany, Europe and worldwide.

The IZW is a member of the Leibniz Association and the Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

Examination of responses of bats to different illuminations of cave entrances (photos: Christian Greif)
Examination of responses of bats to different illuminations of cave entrances (photos: Christian Greif)

Illumination drives bats out of caves – no matter the colour of the light

Artificial light influences the behaviour of many nocturnal animals such as bats, which are very sensitive to all types of lighting. Particularly critical is the illumination of natural caves in which bats roost. Cave illumination is widespread in tourist areas worldwide and disturbs the animals in their resting places. Researchers of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (MPIO) have now investigated how the illumination of bat caves affects the animals’ behaviour and whether the colour of light makes a difference on their flight and emergence activity. Although red light irritates the small mammals somewhat less than white light, from the researchers' point of view neither the entrance nor the interior of bat caves should be illuminated if bats are present. The results are published in the journal "Global Ecology and Conservation".

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Sealing of the alliance for the expansion of the "Tabin-Kulamba Wildlife Corridor between RFF, BOS Germany, Leibniz-IZW & Sabah Forestry Department. Photo: RFF.
Sealing of the alliance for the expansion of the "Tabin-Kulamba Wildlife Corridor between RFF, BOS Germany, Leibniz-IZW & Sabah Forestry Department. Photo: RFF.

New rainforest conservation initiative converts oil palm plantations into rainforest for the first time

An alliance of conservationists and researchers is converting oil palm plantations into near-natural rainforests on Borneo. In this way, an important wildlife corridor can be restored. The research project is to serve as a blueprint for future conversion measures in Malaysia and Indonesia. The pilot project makes an important contribution to nature, species and climate protection.

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Schlagopfer an Windkraftanlage, Autor: Christian Voigt
Schlagopfer an Windkraftanlage, Autor: Christian Voigt

Biodiversity and wind energy: How stakeholders evaluate the green-green dilemma – and what they think about possible solutions

The replacement of fossil and nuclear energy sources for electricity production by renewables such as wind, sun, water and biomass is a cornerstone of Germany’s energy policy. Amongst these, wind energy production is the most important component. However, energy production from wind is not necessarily ecologically sustainable. It requires relatively large spaces for installation and operation of turbines, and bats and birds die after collisions with rotors in significant numbers. For these reasons, the location and operation of wind energy plants are often in direct conflict with the legal protection of endangered species. The almost unanimous opinion of experts from local and central government authorities, environmental NGOs and expert offices is that the current mechanisms for the protection of bats in wind power projects are insufficient. This is one conclusion from a survey by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) published in the "Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy".

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Silver-backed Chevrotain, Autor: Andrew Tilker/Leibniz-IZW
Silver-backed Chevrotain, Autor: Andrew Tilker/Leibniz-IZW

FOUND: Miniature Fanged ‘Deer’ Rediscovered Tiptoeing Through Vietnam’s Coastal Forests

First-ever Photos and Footage of Silver-backed Chevrotain Confirm First Rediscovery of Lost Mammal on Global Wildlife Conservation’s ‘Most Wanted’ List

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Removing snares, Author: Andrew Tilker/Leibniz-IZW
Removing snares, Author: Andrew Tilker/Leibniz-IZW

In Southeast Asia, illegal hunting is a more immediate threat to wildlife than forest degradation

For decades habitat loss and degradation were considered the important drivers for defaunation in tropical rainforest ecosystems. A new study carried out by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) in cooperation with the World Wide Fund for Nature Vietnam (WWF-Vietnam) and the Sabah Forestry Department of the Government of Malaysia suggests that for ground dwelling mammal and bird communities, illegal hunting using indiscriminate snares may be a more immediate threat than forest degradation through selective logging. The researchers conducted a large scale camera-trapping study to compare several forest areas with logging concessions in Malaysian Borneo and protected areas in the Annamites ecoregion of Vietnam and Laos known to be subjected to illegal hunting. The results, published in the journal “Communications Biology”, show severe defaunation in snared forests compared to logged forests.

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